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Questions About Masturbating

Published: January 12, 2015
Dear Questions About Masturbating,

I'm embarrassed about what I'm about to ask about but I have questions. So I'm 21 and a female and recently found out the pleasure of masturbating. I don't know if I should be embarrassed by this or not, but I am. I have done it a couple times and have found how I like it the best. I'm not really 100% sure what it means to reach orgasm, but I think that I have. I get this pleasurable sensation that runs through my whole body. I don't really even know how to explain what it feels like. After that happens though, my clitorous gets very sensitive. It's even too sensitive to touch. I'm not sure how to explain that feeling either but I don't really like that feeling like I do the other. I'm not sure if this all makes sense, but is what is happening normal? Is it ok to masturbate or is this something I should be embarrassed about and stop doing? What does it really mean to reach orgasm? This is all just new to me so I'm curious.


Dear Questions About Masturbating,

The reaction of your body to masturbating, the fact that you are finding it pleasurable and the interest that you have in masturbating are all perfectly normal.

Masturbation is nothing for you to be embarrassed about and nothing you need to stop yourself from doing. As long as you are masturbating in private and it’s not getting in the way of any aspect of your life (i.e., getting to class or work, hanging out with friends, etc.) there is no reason to be concerned about it. In fact, there are ways that masturbating can be good for you. Planned Parenthood gives the following examples:

  • Masturbation is safer than any other type of sex — there's no chance of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Masturbation is the best way for you to learn what you like and don't like. If you decide to have sex with someone, knowing how you like to be touched can help you give them some direction.

  • It releases stress. Many people masturbate to relax. Some people even find it helps them fall asleep.

  • Orgasms — no matter how they happen — can act as a natural painkiller and even help with period cramps. (And it's more fun than taking an aspirin!)

As for your question about orgasms, Brown University states the following:

What is an orgasm?

Orgasm is a physical reflex, usually a pleasurable one, when the muscles that were tightened during sexual arousal relax and the body returns to its pre-arousal state. During sexual arousal there is increased blood flow to the genitals and tensing of muscles throughout the body and particularly in the genitals. Orgasm reverses this process through a series of rhythmic contractions. For women, contractions occur in the lower part of the vagina, in the uterus, anus, and pelvic floor. About 10 percent of women also ejaculate fluid from the urethra at orgasm.

What does an orgasm feel like?

Where the physical contractions of orgasm occur and what particular sensations you experience are two different things. Each person has a unique experience of orgasm but common experiences include changes in breathing, a feeling of warmth, sweating, body vibrations, altered consciousness, or an urge to moan or cry out. During orgasm, endorphins are released into the bloodstream and these chemicals might make you feel happy, giddy, flushed, warm or sleepy.

Some women have orgasms but don’t realize it. You might think that what you are experiencing is too mild to be an orgasm or otherwise doesn’t fit your idea of what an orgasm should feel like. It can be important to focus on what you do feel, and realizing that this may or may not match someone else’s experience of orgasm.

 

TeenHealthFX can appreciate that you are feeling curious. If you have any more questions, read Planned Parenthood’s article on Masturbation, The Center for Young Women’s Health article on Masturbation, and Sex Etc.’s take on What is an orgasm? You can also ask your primary care physician, adolescent medicine specialist or gynecologist about any questions or concerns you might have.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

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